Big is beautiful and big size sells. But for decades, plus size fashion has been the most neglected segment, with rather abysmal brands making fashionable clothes for this group. Although the plus-size segment in India alone is estimated to have about $5-6 billion market by 2020, a handful of brands have come to life in the last few years. With rise of e-commerce and dedicated fashion portals, this segment is gradually evolving.
Oversized, wide and broad are features that are often neglected in fashion, with skimpy clothes mostly advertised and sold through slim models. It’s conveniently forgotten that big is beautiful and big size too can sell. In a welcome change, however, a new breed of online retailers is now venturing into adding more labels in plus-size fashion. From just kurtis and other ethnic Indian wear to now adding Western clothes, the plus-size segment has come a long way.
For instance, understanding the growing popularity for this segment, fashion brand Lifestyle introduced Nexus, plus-size clothing, two years ago. Srinivasa Rao, Sr. Vice President (Marketing), Lifestyle International, says, “The plus size fashion segment has immense potential but is currently under serviced. Our plus-size brand Nexus addresses the growing segment and offers contemporary fashion choices. The collection is trendy, globally inspired and embodies our belief that real fashion is not limited by size.”
Easy connect on ecommerce
While not many brands have launched an exclusive plus-size line, brands like Mustard, Gia by Westside aLL and PlusS have been a big hit among buyers. With the advent of online retail, more e-tailers found the opportunity to expand on e-commerce. FabAlley, a popular fashion brand introduced Curve, a plus-size segment, on noticing that many of their customers demanded trendy plus-size clothes.
“As we continued to add more designs and collections, we noticed an interesting development. Many customers were demanding for the same styles in plus-size clothing because the options were limited to Indian ethnic wear in plus-size segment. As the demand grew, we decided to launch Curve,” says Shivani Poddar, co-founder, FabAlley.
Also, the ease of trying, buying and returning has helped more customers in this segment shop on e-commerce marketplace. Rao, observes, “E-commerce contributes to the growth of plus-size fashion primarily because of ease of access, size availability and convenience that it provides.”
He further says that plus-size fashion is no longer confined to boring colours and loose silhouette and many brands are helping this evolution by bringing global trends to the segments like cold shoulders, off-shoulders, ripped denims and bright prints, among others.
Personalization boosts demand
“I did not have serious plans to launch an exclusive plus-line clothing until requests kept increasing, and now doubling. As I started taking more and more requests to personalize designs in this segment, I am thinking to launch a new collection. People in this segment want more variety in terms of collection and sizes and this will be the next trend,” says Ranu Bathwal, founder of online pop-up store Pop Up Galleria.
While one size does not fit all and standard sizes for all is one of the major challenges to the segment, retailers have understood the importance of personalization which is further leading to the success of many brands.
More brands join the bandwagon
Although the India plus-size market may not be as big as the US market, which is estimated to be $25 billion market, the demand is not any less. Larjjosa, Amydus, Revolution Plus Size, ASoS Curve are some of the recent etailers that are steadily gaining popularity. NeceSera founder Riddhi Jain who has recently launched lounge wear clothing says that the demand for this segment has made her reconsider to launch an exclusive line. Even though NeceSera does not have a full line of plus-size clothing,
She says, “As a retailer you have to go along with the trend because there is demand and many international designers are also launching plus-size clothing. A few years ago the scenario was completely different but now the customers have changed, and so have the demands. Keeping this mind, in the next few months we are preparing to bring out plus-size products.”
Riddhi adds that NeceSera products don’t focus on the collection for millennials and it is made for all age groups, and this will continue with plus-size clothing as well.